Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's in the Bag? RF-602 Wireless Trigger

This is my new favorite device. In my book, wireless triggers are the only way to fire a flash. Forget about using a cord (though you might have one as a backup). Wireless triggers eliminate a trip hazard, are easy to set up with no thought for where to route a cord, they offer complete freedom. Using wireless, you can place a light outside and let it blast through a window (done that). Need to light a couple on a bridge while you shoot from the bottom of a gully? No problem! Try doing that with a PC Sync cord.

Features and Views
I have had other wireless trigger systems and my experiences with them were less than ideal and certainly not acceptable for any serious work. Not so with Yongnuo's latest wireless trigger. My experience to date has been very good. For starters, the build quality is first rate. They feel solid.

The foot of the trigger is metal, and though it lacks a lock ring, it has spring loaded contacts that fit snug to the camera's hot shoe. Putting it on or off the camera is a breeze, as it is very smooth.

There is an LED to indicate half shutter press (green) and full shutter press (red). It also sports a PC Sync socket for a wired connection, something Canon users might find useful for lashing to a portable flash when they need 2nd curtain sync. The test button serves double duty as a shutter release button. That's right, it can be used as a shutter release and has support for half and fully pressed shutter button.

The receiver has a metal threaded mount for attaching to a stand.

The bottom can also slide into a shoe mount. On top there is a hot shoe for mounting portable flashes.

The low profile makes it less intrusive and stronger compared to some of the more vertical receiver designs. This is particularly nice for using a portable flash shooting into an umbrella.

At the front, is a connector for cabling to a studio light. It is keyed and has a locking collar, very nice. Bonus, the contacts are gold plated! This was completely unexpected at this price point and a more than pleasant surprise.

The receiver comes with a cable with 1/4” plug for connecting to studio lights. It also has a 1/4” to 1/8” adapter for lights with smaller connectors.

In addition, it comes with another cable for connecting to a camera's remote shutter input (note the gold plating). Yes, it can also be used as a remote shutter release with half press capability! Note that you cannot simultaneously use the transmitter for shutter release and light trigger, so you would need two transmitters if that is your intent. I might add that having a backup transmitter is a good idea anyway, so why not get double duty?

Both the transmitter and receiver have battery doors so you do not need tools for a battery swap in the field. The transmitter takes a standard CR2 battery and the receiver operates off of two standard AAA batteries. I am using alkaline cells and they just seem to keep on ticking, even after leaving the receiver running several hours a couple of times. Yongnuo claim 2000 actuations for the transmitter battery and up to 45 hours of life for the receiver using alkaline cells, and from my experience I have no reason to doubt that.

How Well Does It Work?
Now that I've been using this trigger for a few months, I think I have a developed opinion of it. The good is that it is inexpensive, well built, and reliable. The controls are simple and sensible. It uses standard batteries that are easy to obtain. The low profile keeps the flash low and contributes to a strong system. It morphs from a wireless trigger to a wireless shutter release. It has very good range.

In testing, I have taken the transmitter over 100 feet from the receiver with 100% reliable triggering, no missed triggers and no dark frames. Note that this was an unscientific test, but still a good indication of range that is well in line with what others have reported. Very impressive performance for a low cost device.

What's not to like?
When I first got the RF602, I had been using it at my camera's max sync speed, 1/200th with no problems at all. The manual recommends using one shutter speed slower than maximum, but it seemed to work okay at max. However, since then I have had some dark frames, which has convinced me to go down to 1/160th and that has cured the problem. When the receiver battery gets low, it appears that the sync speed is slightly affected, so keeping fresh batteries in the receiver is a good idea. Overall, there isn't much not to like about these triggers.

Where Can I Buy the RF602?
At present, I believe eBay is the only place these are being sold. I can't find them on Amazon or anywhere else. Most of the sellers have great feedback scores and are very reliable. Prices vary only slightly, but do shop wisely, and good luck.

Coming Next
That's all I've got for the RF602. The next post will briefly cover the backup wireless system.

Until then...


Click Here for the next posting in this series
"CTR-301P Triggers (the backup plan)"

1 comment:

  1. There are a couple of sellers in the UK that sell these (one in England and one in Scotland). I've got 3 transmitters and 7 receivers now and love them.

    There are specific Nikon and Canon transmitters though, which you have to specify when you order (something to do with the "wake up" signal for flashes that turn themselves idle).

    Also note they won't work with high voltage flashes. Anything over 6v, forget it, your receiver will probably go boom. :)


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